Destruction of Wetlands in The Bahamas

Letter to the Editor

BESS Scholars 2022-2023

Gayle Burrows BESS Scholar

My name is Gayle Burrows, an 18 year old Environmental activist and one of the 2022-2023 BREEF Bahamas Environmental Steward scholars. This program assists young Bahamians in learning about how to conserve the marine and coastal environment around them. Living in The Bahamas for most of my life, I have gotten to experience the changes and the new infrastructure that has been implemented every few years or so. Although industrialization is key to the tourism industry that our country thrives off of, it is extremely detrimental to our mangroves and to our wetland ecosystems.

Due to this there is a direct correlation to where mangrove wetlands used to be flourishing and where communities and institutions now stand that experience increased flooding events due to reduced coastline protection. There then is the never ending complaint of “why is there so much flooding in this area?”. After many researchers studied, they all concluded the removal of these wetlands also hinders the natural protection that wetlands offer from natural disasters, such as hurricanes, with which The Bahamas is very familiar.

Additionally, when wetlands such as these are removed to make way for construction fish populations our economy and subsistence fishermen rely on decline significantly. Many juvenile fish species, such as snappers, bonefish, barracudas, etc., rely on mangroves in their early stages of life. 

So when will enough be enough? When will the government realize that wetlands are needed not only to protect Bahamians but to protect our land, our home? Nothing will change if people are not bold enough to speak up and address these problems. I encourage young people and persons of all ages to speak out and continue to educate themselves about our environment in an effort to build a better Bahamas for all of us. 

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